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Old 03-26-2008, 11:32 AM   #1
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To buy or to build

Need advice:
Have a 99 Wrangler 4 cyl 70K miles, running 2" lift, 31x10.5 tires. Has stock tranny, axles, TC.

Simply does not have enough power for highway, and want to go to 33x11.5 or 12.5 tires. Do alot of daily driving, some mud, mostly rocky type trails. Transfer case is geared to high, need a higher crawl ratio to slow things down.

Question is should I build this up, or buy a Rubicon? Or a 6 cyl Wrangler with Dana 44's? Which 6 cyl's come with 44's?

If I were to build mine up, what should I do first? Replace rear with Super 35 kit? Add Ox? Then Motor? Or should I regear, add an Ox or Tru Trac?

Also do alot of winter driving, live in Colorado.....

Any advice would be great.

Need to keep $ to a minimum, could afford payments on a used Rubicon, but would really have to scrimp to get the tires/lift for that.


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Old 03-26-2008, 11:34 AM   #2
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i would probably get the rubi. its already set up for some good stuff offroad.

4.10 gears, low gearing in the tcase, and locked front and rear on 31" MTR's. that will be pretty capable.

a lift and tires won't be a huge necessity with all of that...but you can get a BB and 1" BL for cheap and have clearance for 32's or 33's. a locked rubi will do far more than a jeep with bigger tires but open axles.

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Old 03-26-2008, 11:47 AM   #3
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I will go a head and rebuild it if you have an other car or something to drive while you get the project done.
Because in that way you can turn all these monthly payments in to buy the parts of your rig, and with time & patience and some $$ you will have a heck of a rig.
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:57 AM   #4

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Build what you have. save up a few months of the monthy payment you would have to make on the rubi, and mod yours. It will cost less, and it sucks trying to have a payment and pay for mods.
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Old 03-26-2008, 12:04 PM   #5
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OK, what mods are best? Will end up with 33's for certain. Also will use it as a DD. 4 wheelin will be Rocks, Rocky trails. Will also use in winter on snow/ice. So, what rear end? Should I go with the super 35 kit, or ford, or dana 44's from ????? what ratio?

what/when should I replace the motor, TC, etc..

Understand that when I do an engine swap, should do with a tranny as well, what is on the market used and what drops in the best? Sorry, new at this stuff....

Can I build the axles first, go to 4.88's for the 4 cyl, and then still use 4.88's with a V6? And with a Auto trans?

What TC should I be looking for? What locker is best for winter driving?


And If I go with the Rubi, is there a year, or any issues to watch out for?
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Old 03-26-2008, 12:44 PM   #6
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Ford 8.8s, change the gears to 4.56s or 4.88 (dont have a 4 cyl, this is just a guess), add lockers to both the 8.8s EDIT: Dont forget to buy the weld on brackets to hook up to your TJ

new drive shaft

Atlas 2 transfer case

taller lift

new tires

armor EVERYWHERE .. engine skid, trans skid, gas tank skid, steering box skid, rocker guards, quarter panel guards

new front/ rear bumpers

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2005 Wrangler Rubicon - 6spd|KC 55watt fogs, IPF H4s with fatboys,Uniden CB radio/Teraflex mount
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Old 03-26-2008, 12:57 PM   #7
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I say go with a Rubicon and a BB.
NJ Army National Guard
Ready for deployment.

So many mods planned for the upcoming YJ:
4.6ltr stroker
3.5" lift kit
33" General Grabbers
Massey Ferguason Grey body
Kubota Orange suspension components
lots more...

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Old 03-26-2008, 01:30 PM   #8
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You can do a LOT to your present Jeep and still be big $$$ ahead of buying a Rubicon. For 33" tires, I'd regear to 4.88 which is the ideal ratio for your 2.5L engine and 33" tires. For those that may chime in to say 4.56 is ideal for 33" tires, that's only true for TJs with the 4.0L engine. That 4.88 ratio will be a BIG help, you'll love the RPMs it will give you. And at the same time, you can install a front locker into your Dana 30. For the rear, you'll need to upgrade your existing Dana 35c before installing a locker into the rear. Like a Super 35 kit, or replace the axle with a Dana 44 or Ford 8.8 if you have the fabrication skills.

For a lower transfer case ratio, you can always install a Tera 4:1 into it which will give you the same ratio as the Rubicon's transfer case. Or better yet, if you can afford it that is, go with an Atlas II t-case.
When you have a choice, buy American.

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Old 03-26-2008, 05:37 PM   #9
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I agree Jerry. If starting from scratch I would never go to 4.56 on a 4 cyl. Always go to 4.88.

However on whether to build or buy it's kind of up to you my friend. Do you want a newer jeep or work with what you have?
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President - Arizona Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition
Vice-President - ASA4WDC
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Old 03-26-2008, 06:24 PM   #10
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I say build. If you build the Jeep you will have a better understanding of what might be making that wierd noise when something is getting ready to break or has broken. Also building it up yourself you can truly customize the rig to your needs.
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Old 03-26-2008, 06:59 PM   #11
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im gonna go against what everyone is saying and say try to get a 2000 or up rubi that has the 6 speed, then pay it off and as you get money get the small things, the 1"BL the 2"BB the 33" tires, then armour...
the rubi will start off way more capable and will be newer and have the 6 spd if you can find one, also it will have a LOT higher resale value then a totally modded 4cyl b/c most ppl dont like to buy things with mods and rubis in general have a lot higher resale and hold their value better then the 4 cyl.

lastly it will get you what you want now, amazing off roadability right now and EASY things to be able to get even better, just al easy bolt on things that only take about an hour

and if you want to learn about the car do the oil changes get underneath look at everything, from front to back, you dont need to put in lockers to understand how the diff works, you can see that when you do the oil change
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:39 PM   #12
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rubis didn't start till 03
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Old 03-27-2008, 12:52 AM   #13
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hey dave I'm not sure if I can help out but I got by gears adjusted to 4:11 and I get about 20 mpg?

98 TJ i4 4x4 Standard
4in skyjacker performance flex lift kit
33x12.5 BF Goodrich A/T
15x8 Rockcrawler steel wheels
Airaid intake
+44 flowmaster exhaust system
BLACKed out all chrome parts
hyperwhite lights
soundbar & pod speackers
quater mile remote & motion sensor alarm w/ remote start
. . . and then some
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Old 03-27-2008, 02:58 AM   #14
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build up your present car. It would be fun and you would learn a lot from it.

boosted inline 6 50. trim turbo
40" super swamper boggers
high pinion d44 front trussed
ford 8.8 rear axle conversion
se 9500 milemarker winch
locked front and rear
rough country steering stabilizers
clayton long arm
3inch body lift
2 coil spacer lift
eagle alloys 15's
on-board air system
kc daylighters 100w long range
rocker guards
rhino liner
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